SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City leaders announced Thursday that overall crime in San Diego decreased last year by 7.5% -- an upbeat trend tempered, however, by a 2.9% increase in violent offenses.
"San Diego remains one of the safest big cities in the nation, and we can never take that for granted," Police Chief David Nisleit told reporters during a morning briefing. "And San Diego P.D. will continually focus on prevention methods -- proactive prevention methods -- to address crime and prevent crime before it happens."
Nisleit and Mayor Todd Gloria praised the SDPD and the city's leadership for the downtick in total crime over the course of 2022, improvements that included a 14.9% drop in the number of thefts, a 13.1% decrease in rapes, a 10.5% decline in murders and a 4.5% dip in burglaries.
Additionally, overall property crime went down by 9.7%, hate crimes decreased by 17.4%, gang-related offenses dropped 17%, and the number of documented gang members fell by 20%, according to the police chief.
"While that is good, we are still seeing an increase in some categories, and we must remain vigilant," Nisleit said during the news conference at downtown SDPD headquarters.
Among crimes classified as violent offenses, robberies increased by 18.4% over the 12-month period, while aggravated assault went up 1.2%, according to city officials.
"And one of the categories that I'm very concerned about ... is armed pedestrian robberies and carjackings," Nisleit told news crews.
Another unfavorable statistic involved vehicle theft, which rose by 2.6% in 2022.
Those negative outcomes notwithstanding, San Diego boasts one of the lowest rates of violent crime among the 10 largest cities in the United States, Nisleit said.
Gloria credited policies enacted by the city's decision-makers, including a commitment to "recruitment and retention of officers amid a nationwide (police) staffing shortage," for the generally positive set of annual crime numbers.
"Our law enforcement in San Diego is second to none, and these stats show that," Gloria said.